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JCC Camps: Preparing for Life’s Journeys

Posted by JCC Camps Team on February 21, 2018
C O N N E C T I O N S • V A L U E S • G R O W T H • F U N

This is our responsibility: To prepare the next generation for the journeys that lie ahead.
We hope that every journey will be fair and just.
We hope that every journey will be filled with joy and happiness.
We hope that every journey will have a satisfying and formative conclusion.
Let’s be honest, not one of us knows what our kids will face.
With all of the uncertainty, how shall we prepare our kids for life’s journeys?
Send them to camp of course!
Send them to camp to CONNECT with friends, traditions and community that will support them along the way.
Send them to camp to learn VALUES that that will guide them at every turn.
Send them to camp to GROW in self-identity and independence so they are confident to forge ahead.
Send them to camp to have FUN because kids (and adults too) just need to have fun.
Prepare your children for life’s journeys by sending them to JCC Camps.

Sam Bloom, Director, Emma Kaufmann Camp
Lewis Sohinki, Director, James & Rachel Levinson Day Camp
Jason Haber, Director, South Hills Day Camps


We live in a world full of connections. We seem to always be connected to our phone and email, our Instagram and Facebook, our Amazon Echo and Google Home, our Twitter feed and our blog posts. Sometimes we need to connect in a different way. We want our kids to be connected to nature and the people around us, to community and friends, to traditions and continuity, to Israel and camp, to oneself and one’s destiny. A summer at EKC allows our kids to be connected in a whole different way to the things that are really important to us. When they put down their devices and their school year priorities, the connections they make during the summer are deep, rich and healthy. For 110 years, alumni from EKC, Lynwood, Emma Farm, and Laurel Y have stayed lifelong friends and have even married each other. They have gotten involved in Jewish and general community at all
levels. For many, their first job was at EKC. They hold dear the connections they made in Morgantown, West Virginia, and live their lives connected to those people and that place.

Sam Bloom, Director, Emma Kaufmann Camp


If you could be a better version of yourself, how would you like to be?
This question drives our pursuit of character development at JCC South Hills Day Camps. The question ends with ‘…how would you like to be?’ and not ‘…what would you like to be?’ The answer to what might involve educational accolades and material possessions. The answer to how includes living a good and meaningful life. The way we talk to and engage with people and support community are also a part of the “how we would like to be.”
While our kids might think that camp is all about the fun, staff and parents know that camp is really about helping our kids discover “how they would like to be.”
All campers at the JCC South Hills Day Camps are active participants in our middot (Hebrew for “values”) program. Each week, we highlight a value at camp around which staff and campers rally to explore new ways to incorporate it into daily activities. Each time a camper explicitly demonstrates the weekly value, they are rewarded with a middah bracelet. Our campers take these values into everyday life as they grow into young adults and begin to shape our collective future. “If you could be a better version of yourself, how would you like to be?” While it is not entirely an intuitive question, our campers are better prepared to answer it because of their experience at JCC South Hills Day Camps.

Jason Haber, Director, JCC South Hills Day Camps


It happens each day during the summer at J&R Day Camp. Campers get off the afternoon bus and surprise their parents with new songs and exciting cheers. They introduce new friends and share stories of having passed a swim test, going down the zip line for the first time and trying a new vegetable from the sustainable garden. Counselors celebrate our campers’ most recent accomplishments and guide them in expanding their interests, harnessing their imagination, building their self-confidence, deepening their self-identity and enhancing their sense of community. We call it growth. Our campers call it, “What we did today at camp.”

Lewis Sohinki, Director,
James & Rachel Levinson Day Camp


At Emma Kaufmann Camp, we’ve got fun covered.
Canoeing • Kayaking • Tubing • Knee Boarding • Water Skiing • The Rave • The Blob • Diving Boards • Water Slides • Water Buckets • Fountains • Israel Day • Arts & Crafts • Instructional Drawing • Mosaics • Beading • Watercolors • Painting • Paper Mache • Self-Portraits • Leatherwork • Weaving • Plaque-making • Jewelry-making • Sculpture • Ceramics • Drama • Robotics • Cooking • Soccer •  Basketball • Hockey • Tennis • Archery • Volleyball • Lacrosse • Cricket • Cup Stacking • Golf • Snag Golf • Ultimate Frisbee • Football • Mountain BikingPhotography • Horsemanship • Outdoor Survival • Giant Boulder • Zip Line • Pamper Pole • Cargo Net • Climbing Walls • Incline Log • Tension Traverse • Giant’s Ladder • Vertical Playground • Singing • Solomon’s Circuit • Dance • Gymnastics • Cooking • Challah Baking • Maccabi Color War
And there’s also Shabbat @ EKC!
Then it all starts over again!
Are you ready for summer fun?

Sam Bloom, Director
Emma Kaufmann Camp

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